Warm music for a cold day: U-M Life Sciences Orchestra plays free concert on Sunday, Jan. 21

Chelsea Gallo leads performance of Beethoven, Weber and Shostakovich, with piano soloist Louis Nagel

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — No matter how cold it gets outside, the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium will fill with warm – and sometimes fiery – music on the afternoon of Sunday, January 21, when the U-M Life Sciences Orchestra takes the stage.

The LSO and special guest piano soloist Louis Nagel will present a free 4 p.m. performance of works from across the classical spectrum. The orchestra, led by Chelsea Gallo, brings together medical, health and science faculty, staff, students and alumni from across the university.

The concert is free and open to the public, as is a pre-concert lecture at 3:15 p.m. by Gallo and Nagel in the lower level of the building.

No tickets are required, though the LSO accepts donations to support its concerts. A new easy way to show support for the LSO is by texting the word ARTS to the number 50555, which will trigger a process to give $10 to the orchestra.

First on the program is German composer Carl Maria von Weber’s overture from the 1821 opera Der Freischütz, led by assistant conductor Tal Benatar.

Next, Ludwig von Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, played by Nagel, an emeritus professor of music at U-M. Nagel, who is renowned as both a performer and teacher, retired from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance in 2016 after 47 years.

The LSO will close out the concert by leaping forward more than a century to 1930s Russia, with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47.

Gallo and Benatar are both students in the UMSMTD’s nationally known orchestral conducting program. Gallo holds the Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D. Music Director position with the LSO, made possible by a gift from its namesake, the first U-M executive vice president for medical affairs and a longtime supporter of the LSO.

The orchestra is part of the Gifts of Art program, which brings the world of art and music to Michigan Medicine, the U-M academic medical center. The LSO gives members an outlet for their musical talents and a chance to interact with one another across academic disciplines and professions. The orchestra made its concert debut in January 2001 and plays two free concerts each year.

For information, visit http://lso.med.umich.edu/ or www.facebook.com/umlso, send e-mail to orchestra@umich.edu, or call (734) 936-ARTS.

Concerto Competition Winners: David Brown and Josh Jung

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 LSO Concerto Competition: flutist David J. Brown, M.D. and violinist Josh Jung.

They were chosen as co-winners from among a highly talented pool of competitors, and represent the highest musical achievement of the U-M life sciences community.

Josh, who works in the Medical School’s Extracorporeal Life Support Research Laboratory, will play the first and second movements of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in our May 2018 concert.

David, who is the Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusion at Michigan Medicine, and an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, will play Nielsen’s Flute Concerto in our January 2019 concert.

We thank all competitors for bringing their talents to our competition!


See a list of past Concerto Competition winners here.

Giving to the LSO just got easier!

The LSO just became one of the first areas of U-M to take gifts by text message!

To give a quick and easy $10 gift to support the LSO, just start a new text message to the number 50555. The entire message should read “ARTS” (no quotation marks).

After you send the message, you’ll get a reply to confirm your gift. Once you confirm it, a $10 donation will flow to the LSO, and show up as an extra $10 charge on your next mobile phone bill. You can give up to three times from any mobile device.

Of course, we are still glad to take gifts via this online form or by mail. (Address and details here.)

The LSO is entirely self-supporting, with no direct funding from U-M — though we do get staff support from the Gifts of Art program, and volunteer help from our committee members. We raise all our funds through donations and member dues.

Please consider a year-end gift to the LSO today!

Louis Nagel to perform with LSO Jan. 21

The LSO is honored to announce that Prof. Louis Nagel will be the featured soloist at its concert on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. in Hill Auditorium.

He will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

This will be Prof. Nagel’s second appearance with the LSO. In May 2001, he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto in F major during the spring concert of the orchestra’s first season.

Prof. Nagel is a highly regarded concert pianist and an emeritus professor of piano and piano literature at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He served on the faculty from 1969 to 2016, teaching many students who have gone on to meaningful careers in the field of music. Now, he teaches advanced young players preparing for a college audition, and adults who put aside their piano studies when they embarked upon careers and are eager now to return to study.

For more about Prof. Nagel, please see his website.  



Announcing our 2017 Concerto Competition

The LSO has a long tradition of shining a spotlight on the exceptional musical talents of members of our life sciences community, through our Concerto Competition.

On the afternoon and evening of Saturday, December 9, 2017, we will hold our 11th such competition, at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s Earl V. Moore building.

All those interested in entering should first read the Concerto Competition Rules thoroughly, then indicate interest and intended audition piece by Friday, Nov. 17 through email to orchestra@umich.edu.

Contestants are responsible for arranging for accompanists for their audition.

If a winner is chosen, we will feature them in our concert at Hill Auditorium on Wednesday, May 2.

See the list of past winners on the Concerto Competition page!

Meet this year’s LSO!

We’re proud to announce the members  of this year’s orchestra, chosen after competitive auditions on all instruments.

Please see our Roster page and plan to hear these great amateur musicians — who hail from all corners of the U-M life science community — on Jan. 21 at Hill Auditorium. Please see our Concerts page for details.

Time to sign up for an LSO Audition!

The 2017-2018 LSO season is now officially under way, with the start of audition signups.

Please visit http://signup.com/go/NrvAtMB to claim your audition spot on one of the following dates: Sunday, Sept. 17, Monday, Sept. 18 or Tues., Sept. 19.

Please follow the directions below when signing up; we are using a new system this year!

All auditions will be held at the Earl V. Moore Building of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. See this link for a map.

Before auditioning, be sure to visit this page for the required excerpt for your instrument, and for other information about what music to prepare. Please also review the criteria for LSO participation and other frequently asked questions, and the schedule of rehearsals and concerts.

If you have never auditioned for the LSO before, please also fill out this form.


  1. Go to http://signup.com/go/NrvAtMB
  2. Find the day and time you want to audition. Click the green Sign Up button for that slot.
  3. Sign in with Facebook or provide your email address. Neither the site nor the LSO will share your email address.
  4. Click Continue. It will ask you to confirm your email address. If it’s right, click Confirm.
  5. Fill in your name, phone number (where we can reach you if there’s a problem on audition day), and your instrument(s) and U-M affiliation and title. (For instance, faculty, staff or graduate student, and give your college, department or program name. If you are a U-M life sciences alumnus or an adult family member of someone in the U-M life sciences community, indicate that here.)
  6. Uncheck the boxes to opt out of emails from the signup site and one of their sponsors.
  7. Click the green Save and Done button.
  8. It will show you the audition schedule with your spot indicated, and a place to add a comment if you’d like. Once you have confirmed that it’s correct, click SAVE in the blue bar at the top of the screen.
  9. You will receive an email about your signup; if you need to cancel or change your time, use the “View/Change My Commitments” link in the email. Click the blue MY SPOTS button next to your audition time, and in the next screen click the minus sign next to “# of Spots” to reduce your number to zero, and save. This will cancel your spot, and then if you wish, you can sign up for another.

Announcing our new Music Director!

The LSO is pleased to announce that Chelsea Gallo has been named our music director for the 2017-2018 season. Like her immediate predecessor Roberto Kalb, she will hold the title of Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D. Music Director , in honor of a generous gift from former U-M Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Gilbert Omenn and his wife Martha Darling.

A student in U-M’s noted orchestral conducting program, she is pursuing her doctorate with Prof. Kenneth Kiesler. She also serves as music director for the Cosmos Chamber Orchestra, which like the LSO works to bring the worlds of music and science closer together.

Read more about her background and experience here. 

Welcome, Chelsea! And many thanks to Dr. Omenn and Ms. Darling for their continued support of our music director position.

Announcing our Audition and Concert Dates for 2017-2018!

Summer still has a way to go, but the LSO Committee is already planning our 18th season of blending science and music.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, January 21 at 4 p.m. for our next concert, and save the evening of Wednesday, May 2 for our spring concert. Both will be at U-M’s amazing Hill Auditorium.


Auditions for this year’s LSO will be held at the U-M School of Music, Theater & Dance building on North Campus on these dates:

Sun. Sept 17:  11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Mon. Sept 18: 6:30 – 10:00 pm

Tue. Sept 19: 6:30 – 10:00 pm

See our Audition Info page for more information and the required excerpts for each instrument.

Rehearsals will begin Sunday, Sept. 24 for those selected for this year’s LSO, and will occur every Sunday evening except for holiday weekends.